This question actually has been in my mind since I was still a teenager. When I was still a child, I often read stories about dragons, most of them were evil. I can’t remember the titles of the stories I read, but some of them gave me insomnia for some nights. The dragons in my childhood killed and ate people, tricked them, and burnt cities.
When I was a teenager, I thought deeper… especially, when I heard about komodo, the biggest lizard, which is said to have a close relationship with dinosaurs. However, it’s also called nowadays dragon. I got interested in this animal. I started to imagine a flying komodo (komodo with wings 😀 ). Then another show on TV talked a bit about dragon and showed some reptiles such as crocodiles, snakes, lizards, and komodos. It raised one more question in my mind, “Is it possible that they are the descendants of dragons?”
I did some researches in internet, and found an interesting explanation about dragons by Dr. Peter J. Hogarth, an expert, who has conducted investigations and researches about dragons for 20 until 25 years. In an interview cited by Animal Planet, he provided explanations about dragons folktales, myths through the science point of view.
Answering a question about whether he thought dragons did exist or not, he stressed that there have been no real evidences to support the existence of dragons in past or present, considering no remains of the legendary creature have been found so far. Experts did found big animals fossils such as dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and some people perceived that these animals could be dragons, but there have been no evidences to support the idea.
The expert who said that he would be panic and ran if he saw dragons also explained his another difficulty to think that such an animal could exist on earth. Legends say that dragons breathe fire and fly, yet he didn’t have any ideas how the huge animal could get airborne since they are said to have a very big size, bigger than any flying animals ever lived. The possibility of flying is surely influenced by the size of animals, the size of their wings, as well as the shape of the leading edge of the wings.
However, Dr. Hogarth came with an interesting theory about how dragons may breathe fire. “That’s why we brought in the hydrogen factor,” he uttered. Hydrogen is a gas which supported the breathing fire idea. However, the theory still had a hole. How to set fire to the hydrogen? According to him, dragons “didn’t have a pilot light to fire up the main blast”.
However, if dragons never existed in the past, why do we have so many folktales and legends about dragons? We do have a basic picture about dragons, which somehow similar in separated areas around the world. Dragons emergence were reported in Europe, New Zealand, areas around North Pole, northern side of Canada, and many parts of Asia, as we looked at the famous Chinese dragons. Marco Polo even noted in his records of his trips to China that the royal family kept dragons for ceremonies. The likes of Japan, Greece, and India also have legends about the mythical creature.
Catholic and Christian people also can find some lines in Bible, which mentioned 34 references to alleged dragons in 10 books of King James version of Bible. The lines could be found in the Old Testament. The original Hebrew word for dragons is “tannin”. The word was translated into “Behemoth” and “Leviathan”.
Isaiah 27:1 declares: “In that day the Lord, with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent (or tortuous serpent) and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.”
Job 41 says: “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?”
Meanwhile, “Behemoth” is described in the Old Testament as a powerful, grass-eating animal whose “bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron” (Job 40:18).
While all the past references are still not convincing enough, how about in the present time? We do have the legend of Loch Ness monster in a lake in England. Can we call them as marine dragons if they really hide underwater? Maybe… Also, we still have komodos, though they don’t have wings 😀
Presented with undeniably many reports of dragons sightings in the past and difficulties our experts face to find the real evidences and provides supports to the folktales with science logic, it seems that we still have more years to wonder whether they were and are real 🙂